Holly here. It was my time to take a whiskey trip and next up was Traverse City. Charles and I don’t have the luxury of traveling together all the time now that we have the shop but we still get out there when we can. I had been to Detroit but no other city in Michigan so I was excited to see what this small town had to offer. Traverse City is known for its cherry blossoms and summertime lake life. It was still quite cold when I went for my 24-hour visit but still a beautiful, summer touristy town. I started out with a distillery tour and as of right now, everything they produce on-site in Michigan is going into their cherry, apple, and peach whiskeys. They are still sourcing their Bourbon and Rye from MGP but maturing the casks for a period of time in Michigan. In saying this, they are expanding for the 3rd time and will begin producing all of their own whiskey within the next couple of years, that is the plan.
I first met with Diane, who runs all of the marketing for Traverse City. We tasted through the core range and I made sure I understood the ins and outs of the Traverse City Whiskey history. We then headed out to the warehouse where we met up with Chris, one of the founders, who was our point of contact originally when seeking a single barrel for the shop, and Curtis, the head distiller, and blender. We tasted through a few barrels and I explained to them what I was looking for. It is not just about what I personally enjoy drinking, picking a single barrel has many determining factors. I need to think about our customer base at the shop, what other single barrels we already have, and how this will complement those and fit in. Along with how we can shine a light on something special about Traverse City. The pressure was on and we were so eager to pick a single barrel from Traverse City because they are not yet distributed in NYS. It is a brand that many whiskey fans have heard about but if you live in New York, you have not had access yet. We wanted to really bring the brand to life at our shop and essentially be a part of the grassroots launch effort as they expand into our state.
The choice came down to two barrels. One was more chocolate and fruit-forward which Curtis thought might be my choice based on our discussion of what I was looking for but something about one of the others we sampled had me hooked and had my heart. I had lines and lines of nosing and tasting notes in my notebook for that one and it kept showing new layers every time I went back to smell it. Sometimes, you just have to go with your gut! Although, whoever did get that barrel #3 will be a very happy customer.
We drew a few samples from the barrel so I could taste Charles on it and maybe try it again at the airport just to make sure I had made the right decision, which I did! The brand team and I enjoyed a cocktail and then I headed for the water. I needed to show off my new samples and Traverse City Whiskey Glass right on the body of water where I picked it. I don’t think I’ll ever get back to Traverse City, Michigan but who knows. If not, I have some great whiskey and sunset photos at Grand Traverse Bay and Lake Michigan to prove it was a fantastic 24-hour trip – highly recommended!
Traverse City Bourbon Single Barrel Store Pick
Proof 113.8 / ABV 56.9%
Barrel # 21-P1708
Mashbill: 75% Corn / 21% Rye / 4% Malt
6 Years Old
Holly’s Tasting Notes: The nose is banana nut bread with lemon & custard, caramel, and nougat. A very rich and creamy nose. The palate explodes with creamy, cinnamon Rumchata and cinnamon buns, and mid-palate transitions into candied apples, cherries, and some licorice as well. The finish is long with baking spices and nougat.
Charles’ Tasting Notes: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough but without the chocolate chips (very different than sugar cookies). Cherries, peanuts, and nougat. Tons of custard with a long finish where those cherries show up again.